At this year's 54th annual National Science Teachers Association
(NSTA) Conference, more than 11,000 attendees had an easy stroll
through the NIH Research Zone, collecting free educational resources
offered by the institutes and centers. Catering to kindergarten
through college-level science teachers, the conference was held
at a place touted to be the "newest and largest convention center
on the West Coast," the Anaheim Convention Center in California.
For the second year in a row, NIH booths were grouped together to
form an agency-specific aisle (the NIH Research Zone). After entering
beneath the NIH banner, teachers could easily maneuver the area while
gaining a more accurate sense of what NIH is. They typically left
the zone gripping overstuffed goodie bags stamped with IC logos,
and a poster or two wedged under their arms.
|OSE conference coordinator Terry Clark was
honored at this year's conference.
Numerous attendees thought that "the grouping of NIH resources
made the zone one of the most important areas of the exhibit floor
for meeting [the teachers'] needs," a NIDA representative noted.
The zone also benefited exhibitors, making it easier to "refer
people to other agencies for more appropriate information on their
topics of inquiry." One great advantage of grouping the booths
was that it gave NIH "a real presence at this huge meeting," said
an NHGRI representative.
After 2 years of working with NSTA officials, NIH realized a small
victory — the Research Zone is now listed on the 2007 exhibit
application as a "preferred location," alongside other neighborhoods
more prosaically named: chemistry/physics, space science, and life
science. The preferred designation will make things much easier
for IC conference planners who sign up for next year's event.
Office of Science Education conference coordinator Terry Clark
was largely responsible for making the zone a reality, and was
honored at this year's conference. She received NSTA's Outstanding
Service Award. "We started this award to recognize individuals
who go above and beyond in contribution to the Exhibit Hall," said
an NSTA official. Clark hopes to expand the NIH Research Zone in
the years to come.